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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tough Call

With the retirement of Sea the Stars, I'd imagine that Jerry Moss' decision as to whether to run Zenyatta in the Classic or the Ladies Classic just got a bit easier. I do agree with the commenters who criticized him for waffling on the decision, which we're told won't be for a few weeks (a timeframe which could have him deciding between the Clark and the Cigar Mile given that the Breeders' Cup is only 3 1/2 weeks away). "It will depend on who's coming, the size of the field," said John Sherriffs wife. [DRF] (Jay Privman couldn't do any better than a quote from the trainer's wife??) I think that's kinda weak. I mean, c'mon, if you're going to run in the Classic with the notion of claiming the rights to Horse of the Year if she wins (as she rightfully could in my own opinion, as we've been debating in this long comment thread), then just do it. To wait and size up the competition diminishes her rightful claim to a title in my view.

But personally, I wouldn't blame Moss if he opts for the Ladies Classic instead. It's quite possible that retiring her a perfect 14-for-14 with a Breeders Cup win, thus topping the immortal Personal Ensign's streak by one (the legitimate questions of synthetic surfaces and the nature of their respective campaigns aside), means more to her connections than even a Horse of the Year title that likely won't be forthcoming even if she were to win the Classic.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Zenyatta run against the boys, and it may very well be the last remaining hook that the BC publicity department could hang their hats and hopes on. (Not to mention creating, for the viewing pleasure of the arrogant Breeders Cup officials who pressed on with the format this year despite the overwhelmingly widespread dissatisfaction from its fan base, the spectacle of the idiotic Filly Friday program being run without the only two publicly recognizable female stars in the sport.) But I think it's a tough call, one that I wouldn't want to have to make. Gut feeling here is that they go for the easier shot at undefeated glory.

El Angelo, in trying to rebut my argument that Zenyatta should be considered for the title should she win the Classic, brought up the prospect of Summer Bird winning the Classic and thus being named HOTY. But the more I think about it, I believe that Summer Bird may have an even better case than Zenyatta should he do so. That would make four Grade 1 wins, all at a mile and a quarter or more, twice against older, one of those against ostensibly the best horses in the world.

Mine That Bird is in the Classic, and he really did not run badly at all in the Goodwood. Doomed by a slow pace (in particular, a glacial second quarter of 25 flat) , the Derby winner ran well in the stretch, achieving field best final splits of 35 flat for the last 3/8ths, and 11.15 for the last furlong. I think he'd be good value at double digit odds (which I think he certainly would be was he not the Derby winner), and with a fast pace, longer distance, and Calvin aboard for the ride, who knows?

While Jess Jackson gives Rachel Alexandra her precious rest (which, despite her hard work, I imagine she really needs about as much as does Tera Patrick), Barry Abrams is talking about running Lethal Heat on both Breeders Cup days! “I’m going to run Lethal Heat in the Ladies’ Classic on Friday and down the hill on Saturday." [TT] Yeah, right on!!

And finally, yes, I completely blame freaking Hank Goldberg for the Jets surrendering 413 total yards and 21 4th quarter points in their loss to the Dolphins last night. Take a hike, Hank, get lost!


DiscreetPicks said...

I believe Shirreffs' wife is the Moss' racing manager.

alan said...

>>I believe Shirreffs' wife is the Moss' racing manager.

Oh great, thanks for showing me up, buddy! :-)

ljk said...

I might be nuts but I don't think Zenyatta would be a lock in the Ladies Classic. Her last two Beyers have been sub-100. I'm thinking both Careless Jewel and Icon Project would at least have a shot and Music Note might be coming in to the race a bit better than last year. Somethings up with Icon project though, she missed both the Beldame and Spinster.

Anonymous said...

The Classic may even be an easier spot than the Distaff.

Should not matter, if they are making the argument she deserves HOY then you are correct, Alan, they should be aiming at this race regardless of opposition.